Beach Blanket Babylon Still a Smash Hit
Steve Silver’s BEACH BLANKET BABYLON: Musical Revue. Club Fugazi, 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd, San Francisco. 415-421-4222 or www.beachblanketbabylon.com.
38 Years of Performances and Still Going Strong
When your editor requests a review (actually a re-review) of a show there is only one thing to do. So I grabbed my best friend and made a return trip to Club Fugazi to see the irreverent Beach Blanket Babylon (BBB) revue. Alcatraz may be the most visited venue in San Francisco but BBB cannot be far behind. On the Thursday night of our visit every seat was filled and the appreciative audience joined in the fun when cajoled from the stage by one of the actors.
BBB is a San Francisco institution that began 38 years ago and because of its success attracting visitors from all over the world, the powers that be in City Hall changed the name of the street to Blanket Babylon Blvd. There is no doubt that it will continue for another 38 or more years. Although the basic plot line has persisted for years, the skits are as topical as yesterday’s newspapers. Nothing is sacred with hysterical reference to the foibles of the famous, the peccadilloes of the politicians and even a romp with royalty.
You will not find a harder-working talented cast of 10 and marvel at their impressive quick costume changes that will keep you guessing who will come out next for their 15-30 seconds of fame (read infamy). It is a 90 minute non-stop evening of hilarity that spoofs all and everything. And the costumes are a kick-and-a-holler but are upstaged by elaborate wigs and hats along with the quality singing and acting. You will have your favorites and last night full-bodied Renee Lubin belted out memorable “Ain’t Misbehavin” and also has her stints as (alphabetically) Whoopi Goldberg, Beyonce Knowles, Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.
Oh yes, the plot. It seems that transplanted San Franciscan Snow White is looking for her Prince Charming since she is hot to trot to the altar. But she knows that her chances in “Gay” San Francisco are limited so her big black, pink clad Fairy Godmother suggests she travel the world. Before that first stop in Rome we meet the Beatles in ‘Salt and Pepper’ headdresses, hippies romp in good old Frisco with the “Age of Aquarius”, “Let the Sun Shine In” and “Flowers in Hair” snippets with wacky (perverted?) lyrics.
Next stop is Roma and don’t ask who played whom because the program doesn’t give a clue. The costumes and headdresses you will remember: One shaped as a pizza, one filled with Chianti wine bottles and another as a full plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
Don’t’ ask how or why but Oprah Winfrey shows up and so does Bill and Hilary Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barack and Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Bachman, Jerry Brown, Sarah Palin ending with a bottle of huge bottle of Viagra moving to downstage center. Are they telling us something?
No time to think because it is time to move to gay Paree. You haven’t seen ‘gay’ until you’ve seen Louie XIV in a stunning pink outfit and a pink coiffeur three feet high. Sorry, Snow White, he is not for you. The three actors dressed as black French poodles are naughty, naughty, naughty. Would you believe that Coco Channel is decked in Cocoa Chocolate hat? Yes, the humor is not subtle.
There is more and more and more but this review must be content to stop being specific since space is limited. It will be mentioned that Queen Eliazbeth, Prince William and Catherine Middleton, and neglected Prince Harry get their turn on stage.
We finally get to the finale but not before Snow White has morphed into Madonna and been lifted over the head of the audience singing her heart out because she states “I can eat the apple and still be on my feet.” Really? You will not hear it from this reviewer whom she corrals but does and gets to wear a wedding dress and wedding cake hat three feet tall. Her hat is upstage by the enormous San Francisco Skyline hat, four feet tall with a working cable car to travel to the stars as “I Left My Heart In San Francisco’ is belted out.
Kedar K Adour, MD
Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com